Plant Genetics and Physiology

Translational Research

Brachypodium: a small plant as model for food and energy cropsTranslational research bridges the gap between fundamental research and innovation. Knowledge about genetic structures and properties in small simple model plants is translated into innovative practical applications for culture crops. Through these model plants we acquire more insight into the molecular regulation of plant growth and development. ILVO researchers follow the latest research and contribute their own research as well. We focus on properties in culture crops that can have a beneficial impact on persistence (red clover), yield (rye-grass), digestibility (rye-grass), cold or drought stress (chicory, roses, rye-grass) and plant architecture (azalea).

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Ecophysiology

Chlorophyl fluorescence onitoringPlants grow in function of their surroundings. Factors such as light, temperature, CO2 and relative humidity determine their development and behavior. The ecophysiological research at ILVO is focused on the response of plants to stress situations such as cold and drought. This research uses advanced techniques to monitor photosynthesis activity, evaporation and chlorophyll fluorescence, among others.

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Population Genetics

The temporal and spatial process of evolution in a given population and its genetic diversity is mappedIn a collection of cross-fertilizing individual plants we look for the genetic make-up of a plant. The temporal and spatial process of evolution in a given population and its genetic diversity is mapped. In wild populations this knowledge can provide insight into the effect of loss of habitat and habitat fragmentation through human intervention. The latter is an important threat to the maintenance of biological diversity. Population genetics is applied in breeding to get insight into such subjects as the relationships within and between different genetic sources.

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Breeding

Hybridization on rosesBreeding at ILVO comprises breeding techniques, the development of new cultivars and the creation of gene banks and collections with pre-breeding material for crops such as azalea, clover and grasses. Breeding research focuses first and foremost on improved disease resistance and optimal use of nutrients or water. Techniques such as molecular markers, embryo rescue, polyploidization and protoplast fusion simplify the breeding process and even allow for interspecific hybridization.

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Molecular Tools

Molecular toolsMolecular tools support the developmental process of a cultivar. Agricultural characteristics are linked to DNA markers and DNA expression profiles (Marker Assisted Selection or MAS). These techniques make the work more efficient and also make it possible to map the genetic background of a particular crop.

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